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Psychologization and Sexuality: The Politics of the Obscene

Jan De Vos

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Psychological and psychoanalytic approaches to sexuality are being supplanted by approaches that focus on the brain and neuropsychology. However, the outcome of this flattening of the psyche might be precisely the desexualisation of the subject. The question is raised if this de-problematized and naturalized sexuality is not the ultimate form of biopolitics. To explore this, the paper discusses the (changing?) public/private divide particularly in relation to the dimension of the virtual, which has become a central dimension in our late-modern technologized existence. It is claimed that when culture, economy, politics, education, and, not to forget, sexuality are going into cyberspace, one threatens to be no longer able to distinguish between the unethical and the ethical, between the perverse and the not-perverse. Hence, it is important to grasp where, in the virtual scene, the ob-scene kicks in. One answer might be that the obscene returns in contemporary politics as the latter becomes more and more neuro-psychologised. In this post-political age we are beyond the Big Stories and Ideologies, and this chimes perfectly with the mainstream neuropsy-theories and praxes equally having done away with all the unnecessary introductory stories to bring us directly to the money shot of the brain scans.

Keywords: psychologization, Freud, obscene, biopolitics, antagonism.